10/02/09 8:15 PM EST
Francona tinkering with postseason roster
Manager informing Sox's bubble players of their destination
By John Barone / MLB.com
The Red Sox are less than a week away from opening their American League Division Series matchup against the Angels, meaning the manager and his staff are in the process of deciding on a postseason roster.
A step was taken toward that objective Friday, when Francona informed some players who were considered borderline candidates to make the playoff squad where they'll be headed after Sunday's regular-season finale at Fenway Park.
"What we did today was a lot of housework," Francona said. "Pretty much everybody that thinks they're on the bubble, we kind of told them where they would be going Sunday. Sunday's going to be a madhouse around here. We have what, 37 bodies? If we know, we'd like to tell them where the heck they're going."
Francona said players not assigned to the ALDS roster will either be sent home or stationed at the team's training complex in Fort Myers, Fla.
"We certainly don't know our roster yet," Francona said. "But as far as telling guys who's going where and why, we'll make our final decisions after the meetings."
Such decisions likely include choosing an 11th pitcher from a group of Michael Bowden, Paul Byrd, Manny Delcarmen and Tim Wakefield. Among those pitchers virtually guaranteed to be on the roster are starters Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka, along with relievers Daniel Bard, Hideki Okajima, Jonathan Papelbon, Ramon Ramirez, Takashi Saito and Billy Wagner.
Also etched in stone is Boston's postseason catching crew, which will feature Victor Martinez -- who additionally plays first base -- and Jason Varitek.
In terms of position players, the role of utility infielder remains up for the grabs. Francona said Friday that he would be surprised if Nick Green, hampered by a slipping disc in his back, returned to action this weekend.
With Green seemingly out of the picture short-term, Francona's choice could very well be between Jed Lowrie and Chris Woodward. Woodward is not currently with the team after flying to Tampa, Fla., earlier this week to be with his wife, Erin, for the birth of their son, Grady, on Thursday night. Exactly when he will return to the club is not yet known.
Plagued by left wrist woes all season, Lowrie has played sporadically since being activated from the disabled list Sept. 8, and remains limited batting from the left side of the plate. Yet his defense and ability to hit left-handed pitching could earn him a spot on the ALDS roster for the second consecutive season.
Lowrie, who hit a walk-off single in Game 4 of the 2008 ALDS vs. the Angels that sent the Red Sox to the AL Championship Series vs. the Rays, wound join a group of infielders including Alex Gonzalez, Casey Kotchman, Mike Lowell, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. David Ortiz will serve as the club's designated hitter.
To supplement an outfield corps of Rocco Baldelli, Jason Bay, J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury, Francona will likely choose between Brian Anderson, Joey Gathright and Josh Reddick to occupy the fifth outfield spot.
John Barone is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.